Engineers Unite — Made 2 Stick — Is a Must Read

Why do engineers (like me) often sound like Charlie Brown’s parents? “Wa Waa Wa Waa Wa Waa” 🙄

It’s because we employ very few of the 6 “sticky” devices covered in “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die“. This book was both eureka 💡 and sledgehammer over the head for me. I’m very glad that I’ve found a book that can help me commmunicate better and whimpering from the clear evidence of how painfully “bad” I often am.

I highly recommend this book for engineers. If you read one book this coming year – pick this one. It will help you in your work. More importantly — It will help you in “Real Life” ❗ In fact with the holiday season coming quick. I’d recommend power reading it before you venture out into the “real world” of christmas socials.

The six sticky devices ( or characteristics ) can be remembered using the mnenoic SUCCES

  • Simplicity—finding the core of any idea
  • Unexpectedness—grabbing people’s attention by surprising them
  • Concreteness—making sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later
  • Credibility—giving an idea believability
  • Emotion—helping people see the importance of an idea
  • Stories—empowering people to use an idea through narrative

The devices that detract from stickiness are (unfortunately employed a lot by engineers & other professionals) :

  • Abstraction — ie not concrete. The authors hammer home that the use of abstraction is proportional to ones level of eductation. ( hence the next point )
  • The curse of knowledge — the more you know about a topic the harder it is to apply the 6 devices. 😦

I listened to the book (audible link). The narrator, Charles Kahelenberg, is good and the result is an entertaining listen. It is “sticky”.



A big thank you to Eric for pointing me towards this book. I really enjoyed it.